In the midst of the devastating coronavirus pandemic and all the dire economic and social implications it presents, have arisen few positive highlights that remind mankind of its innate ability to rise above every challenge life throws at it. One such highlight is the rise of Nana Otafrija pallbearers from obscurity into massive international recognition.
The group now mainly referred to as ‘Ghana’s dancing pallbearers’ have not always been this recognized. Creatively implementing a goal of changing the perception of funerals from mourning a death to celebrating life, the group gained recognition in 2017 after featuring in a BBC documentary.
In a country like Ghana where much premium is placed on funerals, Nana Otafrija pallbearers even in the midst of a host of other pallbearing and funeral waiting service groups, have creatively generated enough popular appeal and reputation unto a profession that was otherwise not regarded.
Based in the coastal town of Prampram in the Greater Accra region, the group has performed across the country and even internationally.
The group which started out as a regular pallbearer service later added the idea of choreography to their original pallbearing service. Led by their visionary and ambitious leader, Benjamin Aidoo, they have been able to position themselves strategically to the point that they charge separately for their normal services and the choreography.
In March and early April 2020, the group transcended all international boundaries even under lockdown as they became the subject of a comedic internet meme. Videos of people mimicking the famous choreography of the group were uploaded to Youtube and TikTok by many enthusiastic persons who sought to find comic relief in the midst of a devastating pandemic.
In Brazil, the group’s fame was taken to a new level when billboards featuring images of the group were displayed with the caption, “Stay home or dance with us”. The leader of the group has affirmed the caption as he released a message earlier this month capitalizing on the same phrase to encourage fans to stay home or dance with us.
It remains to be seen how Benjamin Aidoo and his group will utilize their newfound fame and recognition to improve their lives and that of their dependents. However, we sincerely hope that they will strive to reap some well-deserved benefits from their copyrights. Above all, we wish them well as they strive to project Ghana in the most unusual way ever imagined.